Updated: Andrei Vasilevskiy Leaving KHL For The Lightning
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 1, 2014
Vasilevskiy backstopped Salavat to the KHL semifinals this past season. He was under contract until late April and is now eligible to sign with the Lightning. Despite being able to make substantially more money in the KHL, Vasilevskiy has made it known that he wants to play in North America. (Photos/Susan Ferlita)
With the Bolts goalie situation going into next season is up in the air. Despite Ben Bishop‘s surgery, he is xpected back for training camp and will be the number one goalie. Restricted free agent Anders Lindback is no lock to be with the Lightning next season. It seems that the Bolts brass would like a veteran to back up Bishop, but it is possible that the door is now open for Vasilevskiy or Kristers Gudlevskis to be the Bolts number two netminder.
The most likely scenario is that the Bolts will bring back Lindback or sign a veteran free agent to be the backup, while Vasilevskiy and Gudlevskis hone their skills in Syracuse with the Crunch.
The 19 year old Vasilevskiy played in 28 KHL games, posting a 1.99 goals against average and a .934 save percentage.
The Lightning have yet to confirm that Vasilevskiy has made the move to North America, but according to Bolts beat writer Damian Cristodero, GM Steve Yzerman says he is “in discussions” with Vasilevskiy’s agent and hopes to have a contract done “in the near future.”
Update: May 6 – The Lightning have confirmed the signing of Andrei Vasilevskii to a three year, entry level deal.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) May 6, 2014
Here is the release from the team:
Vasilevskii, 6-foot-3, 203 pounds, played in 28 games with Salavat Yulaev Ufa of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League this season, posting a 14-8 record with three shutouts, a 2.21 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. He led all Ufa goaltenders for games played, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. Vasilevskii also led his team to the semi-finals of the KHL playoffs in 2014, posting a 9-9 record with a 1.99 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage with one shutout. He ranked tied for fourth in the KHL during the playoffs for save percentage and eighth for goals-against average.
The native of Tyumen, Russia made his KHL debut last season, playing in eight games for Salavat Yulaev. He went 4-1 with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. In all, Vasilevskii has appeared in 36 KHL games, with an 18-9 record, a 2.21 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage with four shutouts. Prior to joining Salavat Yulaev, he played for their junior team, Tolpar Ufa, in the MHL.
Vasilevskii has shined on the international stage with Russia, appearing in each of the previous three IIHF U-20 World Junior Championships. He won the Silver Medal in 2012 as well as Bronze Medals in 2014 and 2013. Vasilevskii was voted by participating coaches as one of Russia’s top three players in each of the tournaments he has played in. He also participated in the 2011 IIHF U-18 World Junior Championships where he won the Bronze Medal.
The 19-year-old was drafted by the Lightning in the first round, 19th overall, at the 2012 NHL Draft.
Please note the updated spelling of Vasilevskii’s first and last name.
“We’ve got to sort out our goaltending,” GM Steve Yzerman said. “I’m not really sure right now. We have an idea of what we want to do, but I don’t want to say it publicly yet. One step at a time. He excelled at the Russian junior level. He excelled at the international junior level, and he did very well in the KHL this year. So every year he’s gotten better. Let’s be cautious and conservative,” Yzerman continued. “Let’s not over-hype anything. Let’s bring him over and see how he looks in camp and it’ll sort itself out.”
Update: The Russian goalies agent has stated that the spelling of his clients name is Andrei Vasilevskiy. Stay tuned for another change.
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